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Kia Sorento Plug-In Hybrid Efficiency Test: Road Trip With Studless Snow Tires

I just took a 150 mile road trip to a beautiful lake in my 2022 Kia Sorento Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV), beshod with Bridgestone Blizzak snow tires, a 12.5 ft paddleboard for a hat, and 2 adults and a child on board. I was expecting to get somewhere around 33 miles per gallon via combined electric and gasoline propulsion and at least 3-4 miles less EV range than the 32 it is rated for. But I was wrong.


How did I miss the marK? Well, thankfully in this case it was because I underestimated how efficient the Sorento PHEV can be with a big paddleboard on the roof and wearing tires with higher rolling resistance. Amazingly, my combined electric and gasoline miles per gallon was 59.7 on the outbound portion of my trip and 49.9 on the way back. Perhaps almost as astonishing, on my trip back I got 37 miles of electric only range compared to about 32 miles of electric only range on the way there. Coming home, I slightly misjudged and ended up with 3 miles of EV range left at the end of the trip. I used up about half the charge on 40-50 MPH rural highways before switching to hybrid mode, when the speeds got back to 60 MPH, until I was about 14 miles from home (I could have switched back to EV mode a few miles sooner and gotten over 50 MPG).

By my calculations, I used less than 1.3 gallons of gas going to Lake Mason on the Kitsap Peninsula, and about 1.5 gallons coming back, which means I got a little less than 31 MPG when driving on gas. That is worse than I would have gotten without the paddleboard and snow tires on, about 10% worse actually, which is what I was estimating before I made the trip. But I misjudged how much EV range I would get. It helps that I save my battery for slower speed segments of my drives, and it also helps that it was in the mid to upper 70’s F the whole time I was on the road. My blended MPG for the complete round trip was almost 55 MPG, which frankly is amazing considering the size and weight of the vehicle.

For reference, the drive was about 65% freeway or state highway at speeds of 60 miles per hour and I mostly stayed within 5 miles an hour of the limit, only hitting a couple slower spots with moderate traffic that slowed me down below that, or occasionally going a little faster to pass. The remainder of my distance was on 35 - 45 MPH rural roads and or 25-35 MPH city streets. My tires were inflated to 40-42 PSI according to the TPMS system on the dashboard screen en route (but less according to my trusty tire pressure gauge). There were only a couple small, steeper hills as I drove along the edges of the glorious Puget Sound through the very beginnings of autumn’s arrival.

Unlike in my initial test of the Blizzak snow tires, I did not notice road noise from them on this drive, likely because I was either on the phone, listening to music, or talking to my family during the drive. Otherwise handling on the Blizzaks seemed confident and secure, but I would hardly call my testing robust, just a normal dry pavement run on a relatively leisurely drive. I was not expecting anything other than good handling on dry pavement. I suppose the braking distance and high speed cornering stats could be worse than my all season Continental brand tires, but I don’t really have the set up or equipment to precisely measure those things and defer to others that do.

I’ll wrap this up by promising more real world tests in harsher conditions over the coming months. Seattle fall isn’t usually this warm and sunny, but by the end of the week cool rainy weather is expected for days, er make that months. Come late December I might get a chance to try these out in actual snow and ice. I’ll dive into inclimate weather experiences soon and for now, please leave any questions or comments below.

Image by Justin Hart

Justin Hart has owned and driven electric vehicles for over 14 years, including a first generation Nissan LEAF, second generation Chevy Volt, Tesla Model 3, an electric bicycle and most recently a Kia Sorento PHEV. He is also an avid SUP rider, poet, photographer and wine lover. He enjoys taking long EV and PHEV road trips to beautiful and serene places with the people he loves. Follow Justin on Twitter for daily KIA EV news coverage.